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Central Corridor

Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: U.S. Automakers End 2011 With Big Gains, Cold Weather Cracks DC Rails, St. Paul Businesses Get Rail Construction Relief

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Top stories on TN:
New York Governor Cuomo Proposes $15 Billion Infrastructure Plan (Link)
In Cuomo’s Speech, No Mention of the Word “Transit” (Link)
NY MTA Contract Talks With Transit Workers Union Delayed (Link)
New Jerseyans on Toll Hikes: We Don’t Care Why They’re Being Raised, We Just Care That We Have To Spend More Money (Link)
This Traffic Light Senses Bikes, Promotes Road Harmony (Link)
New South Florida Rail Connection to Miami International Airport Almost Done (Link)

NYC subway platform (photo by Kate Hinds)

U.S. automakers had double-digit growth in sales in 2011. (New York Times, NPR)

Jay Walder, the former head of New York's MTA, says at a press conference in Hong Kong that NYC's "assets were not renewed and the infrastructures were in terrible condition." (The Standard)

He also said he put the city's transit agency on "firm financial footing." (New York Times)

Gibson Crutcher Dunn -- the law firm that sued New York City over a Brooklyn bike lane -- is also defending Chevron in Ecuador, which was slapped with an $18 billion fine for environmental damage. (New Yorker; subscription; update)

JFK airport security workers make $8 an hour, and get neither get sick days nor health insurance. (Village Voice)

US DOT head Ray LaHood is touting the FAA's 2011 accomplishments. (Fast Lane)

Facing complaints about light-rail construction disrupting St. Paul businesses, the government will spend $1.2 million on a marketing campaign to entice shoppers to visit the beleaguered area (Minneapolis Star Tribune). (Note: for more on the Central Corridor construction, listen to the TN documentary "Back of the Bus.")

This week's sudden drop in temperature cracked rails on DC's Metro. (Washington Post)

West Windsor, NJ, is now a transit village. (The Times/NJ.com)

Maryland's department of planning created a smart growth web tool, GamePlanMaryland. "Choose...the direction for our transportation program — more roads, more transit, what combination? Then click the mouse ... and see if the future you’ve plotted will achieve the priorities you established."

The Brian Lehrer Show kicks off a month-long look at the airline industry today. (WNYC)

NYC's former taxi commissioner weighs in on a the recent taxi deal to improve service for the disabled -- and says it's "well-intentioned...[but will] in all likelihood rarely be used by the target ridership." (New York Times)

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Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: Cubans Now Allowed to Buy and Sell Cars, California Facing $293 Billion Transpo Shortfall

Monday, November 07, 2011

Top stories on TN:

NYC subway riders worry that service is sliding backwards to 1970's standards. (Link)

Do residential parking permits have unintended consequences? (Link)

The mayor of Detroit promised striking bus drivers safer working conditions. (Link)

A car in Cuba (photo by Arjen Konings via Flickr)

Cubans are now allowed to buy and sell cars for the first time in half a century. (New York Times)

California faces a $293.8 billion shortfall over the next decade to maintain its crumbling roads, outdated freeways and cash-strapped transit agencies. (Mercury News)

Private equity firms are investing in used-car lots, which "focus on people who need cars to get to work, but can't qualify for conventional loans." (Los Angeles Times)

The new head of the MTA must convince Albany to fund capital needs and increase transit funding if he wants to move the agency forward. (Crain's New York Business)

A Senate committee marks up the highway reauthorization bill this week. (Politico - Morning Transportation)

The head of the TSA will be on the hot seat before a Senate committee this week, where he'll face questions about security procedures. (The Hill)

A judge rejected Minnesota Public Radio's lawsuit over the Central Corridor light rail project; the station had claimed the rail line would disrupt broadcast operations. (St. Paul Pioneer Press)

New York City will be putting more benches around town. (WNYC)

A digital artwork installation is temporarily on display at the Union Square subway station. And:  it moves when you do. (NY1)

A bicycle recycling group often hits paydirt in the basement of NYC apartment buildings. (New York Times)

More on Seattle's sperm bike from NPR.

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Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: US Mayors Want Fully Funded Transpo Bill, Toll Hikes Send Staten Islanders Flocking to E-ZPass

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Top stories on TN:

MTA unveils iPad-like informational kiosk at some subway stations. (Link)

Audi is using fraying infrastructure and stupid drivers to sell cars. (Link)

Some NYC parking meters are experiencing second lives as bike racks. (Link)

An aeroponic garden at Chicago's O'Hare Airport

A group of U.S. mayors met with congressional leaders and White House officials to push for a "comprehensive, fully-funded" transportation bill. (The Hill)

New York City's Department of Environmental Protection is investigating a transit-disrupting water main break on Manhattan's Upper West Side. (WNYC)

Bus vs. train: which system does more to help a city? The answer: it depends. (TheStreet)

After this weekend's toll hikes went into effect, Staten Islanders are lining up to buy E-ZPass. (Staten Island Advance)

The pedestrian safety officer program on three East River bridges is costing NYC $80,000 a month. (NY Daily News)

San Francisco BART protesters have gone from wild to mild. (SFist)

St. Paul (MN) businesses, which have been struggling during the Central Corridor light rail construction, may get a financial boost thanks to the project meeting a key deadline. (Minnesota Public Radio)

Chicago's O'Hare Airport now has a no-soil, vertical garden that grows everything from Swiss Chard to green beans, right between Terminals 2 and 3 on Concourse G. (Marketplace)

The Long Island town of Ronkonkoma is seeking a developer for a 50-acre mixed-use hub that would "create new businesses and jobs, expand the property tax base, keep young people from leaving Long Island, encourage the use of mass transit, and create a regional destination." (Newsday)

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Transportation Nation

Twin Cities' Central Corridor Receives Federal Funding

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) Construction for the Minneapolis-St. Paul light rail project known as the Central Corridor has been underway for some time now (and AP reports the line is now 12% complete). But it wasn't until yesterday that the federal government officially signed a funding commitment to pay for half the line's almost $1 billion cost. As Ray LaHood wrote in his blog: "What I really admire about the Twin Cities community is that they didn't wait for this agreement before getting started."

FTA Administrator Rogoff with Gov. Mark Dayton, US Senator Al Franken, and Twin Cities mayors Rybak and Coleman (photo courtesy of Fastlane.dot.gov)

The Federal Transit Administration is contributing $478 million. The rest of the money is coming from state and local sources.

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The light rail project has generated some controversy. Three lawsuits have been filed over it--including one from Minnesota Public Radio, which is concerned about rail noise affecting its broadcasting capabilities. And there have been civil rights implications as well. As Transportation Nation reported in its documentary "Back of the Bus: Race, Mass Transit and Inequality," initially the light rail line was going to go through--not stop--in the historically black Rondo neighborhood.

Service on the 11-mile light rail line is expected to begin in 2014.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: St. Paul Residents Welcome Light Rail -- Not Gentrification; BART's Cloth Seats A Comfy Perch for Bacteria

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Neighborhood residents hope that the Central Corridor light rail line will improve St. Paul -- without bringing any of the downsides of gentrification. (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

What can developing countries teach the US about buses? Three words: bus rapid transit. (Reuters via NYT)

BART commuters may choose to stand instead of sit: "High concentrations of at least nine bacteria strains and several types of mold were found on the seat. Even after Franklin cleaned the cushion with an alcohol wipe, potentially harmful bacteria were found growing in the fabric." (Bay Citizen)

Consequences of the "tarmac rule"? An analysis of federal Department of Transportation figures reveal airlines are canceling more flights, presumably to avoid idling on the tarmac and exposing themselves to the whopping fines. In fact, the cancellation rate at the nation’s major airports surged 24 percent during the eight months after the rule went into effect. (Star-Ledger)

Michelangelo's "David" may be at risk because of the vibrations caused by the construction of high-speed rail line beneath Florence. (Telegraph)

4,600 City of New York employees owe $1.6 million in parking tickets. (NY Post)

The average price of gas in the US is now up to $3.51 a gallon -- a 33 cent increase in two weeks (NPR), leading the White House to consider tapping the strategic oil reserves.

The New York Times profiles city transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.

Top Transportation Nation stories we're covering: Florida Governor Scott killed high-speed rail again -- and then announced he wanted to deep-dredge Miami's port.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Maryland Population Growth Expected Near Transit, Transpo Groups Like President's Budget, And NCDOT Combats Junk in Your Trunk

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Transportation groups have much to like in President Obama’s budget request for infrastructure improvements -- but fear the spending plan might not get off the ground in Congress. (The Hill)

Planners in Montgomery County, Maryland, expect population growth will happen around transit centers and mixed use developments near the area's Metrorail station. (WAMU)

Christine Quinn announced her plan to ease NYC's parking restrictions and introduce new legislation that would allow ticket agents to literally "tear up" tickets. (WNYC)  Also: Quinn will be on WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show today, and it's safe to say that this parking plan will come up in the conversation.

A political battle brewing over the New Starts transit funding program could endanger at least $394 million for Minneapolis's Central Corridor light-rail line. (Star-Tribune)

The North Carolina DOT has launched a campaign to combat junk in your trunk. Drive lighter, save money at the pump:

Ray LaHood takes to his blog -- and Twitter, and Facebook -- to defend the president's high-speed rail plan in the face of critics. "As the Secretary of Transportation, let me be clear: there is no amount of money that could build enough capacity on our highways and at airports to keep up with our expected population growth in coming decades."

Greece's socialist government was able to pass its sweeping public transportation reform legislation in a final vote two hours past midnight on Wednesday, despite protracted strikes since December. (Dow Jones)

NY's Metropolitan Transportation Authority has refused to move from a parking lot slated to be turned into a park on Greenpoint's waterfront. (NY Daily News)

Is Burlington's pro-bike policy part of the secret behind Vermont's low unemployment rate? (Good)

An app to report potholes has come to Boston. (Wired/Autopia)

Top Transportation Nation stories we're following: We look at the politics behind the iconic beleaguered middle class driver. Senator Jeff Sessions weighs in on high-speed rail -- and what he thinks transportation policy should focus on. Montana grapples with megaloads. Houston's light rail system stands to get more money if the president's budget is passed. And: we just can't get enough of love on the subway.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: New York Pols Line Up for High-Speed Rail, Ford Posts Profit, and First Electric Smart Car Arrives In U.S.

Friday, January 28, 2011

At least the bike will be easier to dig out than the car behind it (Kate Hinds)

Dozens of passengers spent the night huddled in subway cars after the snowstorm that blanketed the northeast stranded their train in Brooklyn's Coney Island station.  But hey, that's better than the time when trains were stuck on the tracks for hours on end with no means of egress! (AP via Wall Street Journal)

Meanwhile, the MTA's web site was inaccessible to many Thursday morning as 500,000 users tried to log on at once to find out about storm-related mass transit disruptions but were unable to load the site. (WNYC)

A federal judge in St. Paul ruled Thursday that Central Corridor light-rail planners failed to analyze how construction of the 11-mile transit line would affect businesses in the corridor. (Minnesota Public RadioNote: For more on Rondo, check out TN's documentary Back of the Bus: Mass Transit, Race and Inequality

The first electric Smart car has arrived in the U.S. (Wired/Autopia)

New York State Senator Malcolm Smith, a self-described "aggressive" supporter of high-speed rail, talks about Thursday's congressional hearing--and why he's so optimistic. "This was major. Think about it -- you have a chairman of a House committee, he's a Republican from Florida, who already has high-speed rail moving in his state, here, having his first hearing of the year, in New York City, to talk about how important high-speed rail is to the Northeast Corridor...it's a major happening for this initiative." Watch the video below, or go to Capital Tonight.

Toll-takers on the Golden Gate Bridge would be eliminated in September 2012 under a plan approved Thursday by the district's finance committee. (Marin Independent Journal)

Following six fatal bicycle/car collisions in six months, Tampa is deciding whether to adopt a Bicycle Safety Plan. (ABC News)

Tweets of the day, via WNYC's Azi Paybarah, who's listening in to Mayor Bloomberg's weekly radio show: "everyone was in favor of this" @mikebloomberg says of congestion pricing." and "Shelly [Silver]'s plan was to toll all the bridges" says @mikebloomberg of the Assembly Speaker." 

Metro officially names a new director. (WAMU)

Ford says it earned $6.6 billion in 2010, its highest profit in more than a decade. (AP via NPR)

Top Transportation Nation stories that we're following: The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure held a hearing on high-speed rail in the Northeast yesterday; chair John Mica said 70% of all chronically delayed flights originate in New York's airspace. The takeaway: paring down short-hop flights in the Northeast will have a positive ripple effect nationally. Meanwhile, planners want NYC's airports to expand, saying that more capacity to handle more flights is desperately needed. Also: the chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey explained why doing big things in America has become so difficult, and Chicago mayoral hopeful Rahm Emanuel released his transportation plan--which, as it turns out, is a transit plan.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: LA Looks At Congestion Pricing, a Streetcar Named Red Hook, and Is NY Closer to ARC $?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Is New York "well-positioned" to snag some federal ARC funds? Senator Gillibrand spoke to Ray LaHood Monday -- and she thinks signs point to yes. (Wall Street Journal)

The Los Angeles MTA is considering bringing some form of congestion pricing to the city. (Los Angeles Times)

Ray LaHood predicts that Rahm Emanuel will win Chicago's mayoral race.  (Chicago Sun-Times)

China will soon have more miles of high speed rail tracks than the rest of the world put together. (NPR)

The "If You See Something, Say Something" campaign heads to the DC region. Just in time for the holidays! (Washington Post)

Some airline travelers are not so happy about new TSA screening requirements. Neither are pilots.  (NPR)

If a Republican House bans earmarks, one of those transportation projects in doubt could be the Minneapolis region's Central Corridor light rail. (Minnesota Public Radio)

New York's Department of Transportation will present its Brooklyn Streetcar Feasibility Study (read: trolley service in Red Hook) at a community board meeting tonight. (NYC DOT)

More on New York's taxi of the future finalists. (WNYC)

GM dealers say that Chevy Volt production has begun. (Detroit Free Press)

Is F train performance now better than...an F? New York City Transit says yes. (New York Times)

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Transportation Nation

What happens when a community decides to get bold on transit?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

(St. Paul, Minnesota-- Laura Yuen, MPR News) MPR's four-part series on the travails of the Minneapolis-St. Paul light rail project has begun. It's a terrific, in-depth look at what happens when a community decides to re-organize its street space.

From the story --

And now we hear, 'It's a development project; it's not really a transit project at all,'" anti-Central Corridor blogger Eric Hare tells MPR. "So, in the process of being all things for all people -- and making julienne fries on the side -- what is this thing really trying to accomplish? As we get closer to construction, people who believed the project is one of those three things suddenly find that there are all these compromises made along the way, and it's not what they expected."

But proponents point to another line's success.

After that line -- the Hiawatha line -- was built, skeptics who didn't believe Minnesotans would ride big-city trains finally had an on-the-ground example to draw from, said Karri Plowman, director of the Central Corridor Partnership. It's the business coalition that came together six years ago to advance the project.

Just two years after trains started rolling along Hiawatha, the line carried an average weekday ridership of 26,270 -- well above the original projections for the year 2020.

"Very quickly, the numbers in terms of ridership and success became evident," Plowman said.

Listen to part one here.

Part two examines the University of Minnesota's opposition to the line.

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